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Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review. By Keith E. Whittington. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999. 320p. $39.95.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2002

Judith A. Baer
Texas A&M University,,


With friends like Edwin Meese and Robert Bork, "jurispru- dence of original intent" (p. 3) needs no enemies. These polemicists have so corrupted originalism by associating it with reactionary ideology and partisan politics that, in Keith Whittington's words, "the task now is to convince critics to take [it] seriously again" (p. xii). Constitutional Interpretation ably performs this task. Whittington's rescue of originalist jurisprudence from its strangest bedfellows in itself is a major contribution to the study of constitutional law. But, although originalism has found a genuine friend, the book's powerful argument against "dismissing originalism as an interpretive method" (p. 162) does not constitute an affirmative defense. Whittington's efforts to make this case are informative and provocative, but they fail. This failure is traceable to serious defects in both the structure and content of the book.

Book Review
2001 by the American Political Science Association

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